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Shifting Mask Culture to Clear

Nationwide, volunteer sewists have produced and donated thousands and thousands of cloth masks, easing the PPE crisis. Did you know, though, that traditional face masks interfere with lip reading and transmission of sign language "facial grammar," disrupting communication for people who are deaf and hard of hearing?  In fact, being unable to see facial expressions is a barrier to communication for many people: teachers, health professionals, performers, police, and more.

Clear masks -- those with a transparent window in front -- are being sought by many of these people but are not yet widely available commercially.  Where they are available, they may not be affordable for many who need them.  Keep in mind that one deaf person needs many such masks, one for each person s/he communicates with, so even a modest cost per mask can add up.

On Thursday, September 24th, the first-ever Virtual Sewing Fest will be held. It's to be a fun event, during which people will sew clear masks, listen to music, and hear a few brief presentations related to clear masks and about the organizations participating in the event.  The goal is to recruit as many volunteers as possible to continue making clear masks after the event and to provide a distribution network for the masks they produce.  

School is back in session and demand is high for clear masks, together we can shift the mask culture to clear. 


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